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Philanthropy

SOCAP11 Observations From Day 1+

Below are some of my thoughts and observations from the first day and half at SOCAP11:

 

Trying to Find the Great Convergence Between Philanthropy and Social Impact Investing

Last year I covered the SOCAP10 philanthropy track curated by Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy. That track emerged from a dialogue following SOCAP09, which identified the need to integrate philanthropy more into the fabric of SOCAP. A series of sessions were presented that focused on practical efforts marrying philanthropy and social investment efforts.

Analysis of Social Innovation Fund Update

On Thursday, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) held a media advisory conference call to provide details about the Social Innovation Fund. Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund, and Marta Urquilla, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation, framed the conference call as an opportunity to provide details about grant application process and next steps. Following the call, the Corporation released a press release on the SIF process and a link to the conference call audio (which will be up for about 30 days).

Breaking Social Innovation Fund News - Summary of Applications Received

The Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) held a media advisory conference call today to provide details about the Social Innovation Fund. At the April 8 deadline, the Corporation received 69 proposals representing more than 260 collaborations of foundations, private investors, businesses, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and local government.

The Questions Submitted to Bill Gates for TED2010

On Tuesday, Bill Gates posted a short Tweet: "Headed to TED - http://bit.ly/brwfV1 - I will be sending notes and taking your questions. Send them to @BillGates and tag them #BillatTED." On Friday, some of those questions will be answered via a video feed following his TED presentation on energy and climate change. (UPDATE: The video link is here.)

As is typical with a Bill Gates Tweet, the post was retweeted and referenced a lot. The questions submitted have also been interesting to review. Using the webstie What the Hashtag?!, I  pulled together a listing of most of the questions submitted in advance of Friday's presentation at TED. Of the nearly 500 tweets using the Hashtag, approximately 70 or so where actual questions. The rest were retweets, nonsensical questions or personal pleas, and comments. 

Jill Friedman Fixler and Beth Steinhorn on the Tragedy in Haiti -- How Can We Help?

Much has been written about the urgent need for cash in the immediate response to the tragedy unfolding in Haiti. However, many have also expressed interest in how to best engage volunteers who want to help both in the immediate timeframe and in the longer recovery stage. I'm pleased to offer the following guest post by Jill Friedman Fixler, owner of JFFixler & Associates, author of Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow, and a nationally known leader recognized for her innovative approaches to strengthening nonprofit organizations through volunteer engagement and management, and Beth Steinhorn, Senior Volunteer Engagement Strategist with JFFixler & Associates.

Highlights from a Funders Call on the Social Innovation Fund

Last month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps, released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The Corporation is accepting comments until January 15.

Earlier this week, three affinity groups of the Council on Foundations – Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, Grantmakers In Health, and Grantmakers for Children, Youth & Families – hosted a funders discussion on the Social Innovation Fund (SIF).* The call included Steve Gunderson, President and CEO, Council on Foundations, Michele Jolin, Senior Advisor, Social Innovation, Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and Marta Urquilla, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation, Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation). The audio of the conference call will be posted, although I have yet to see it on the Corporation’s website. Until then, and with the hopes that it might generate additional comments on the draft Notice of Funds Available for the SIF, here are a few points from the call.

A Communitiy Foundation Perspective on the Social Innovation Fund

Last month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps, released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The Corporation is accepting comments until January 15.

In my most recent post about the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), I commented that the cash match requirement at the minimum grant award level might prevent most community foundations from participating in the program. Today’s guest post on the Tactical Philanthropy blog by Eileen Ellsworth, president of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, greatly expands on this issue and illustrates how the new minimum grant award level and one-to-one cash match requirement will prevent her community foundation from participating. Specifically, she writes, "the increase in the minimum grant level from $1 million to $5 million now constitutes an insurmountable barrier for our SIF application....raising the minimum grant level to $5 million will prevent all but a tiny handful of very large foundations from applying." This issue is further reinforced by the Council on Foundation in a short commentary published today.  The Council notes that some foundations “have expressed concerns about the match requirements for the minimum grant threshold of $5 million…and the difficulty that small communities may experience in trying to take advantage of this program.”

A few questions on the Social Innovation Fund

Yesterday, the Corporation for National and Community Service held a conference call on the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The conference call was revealing in the information it provided. However, many significant challenges and questions remained unaddressed and could potentially derail the effectiveness of the SIF.